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Research group ecotechnology

Ecological Engineering is an approach to design and planning that uses insights from ecology as paradigm for problem solving. Its main elements are ecological principles and processes, (eco-) systems and thorough systems thinking combined with an engineering mindset.

In our work, we promote the sustainable use of natural resources, both through research and the development of technologies and concepts that are in line with the principles of Ecological Engineering. We develop sustainable solutions, with a focus on reusing water, nutrients, and biomass resources, considering avoidance and eliminate of pollutants. We focus on all aspects of the anthroposphere, particularly on the interface between agriculture and buildings.

Our research has an impact on a wide range of courses on offer at the Institute of Natural Resource Sciences. You can specialize in our research focus areas for your semester, bachelor's or master's thesis on the basis of exciting research questions.

Ecological engineering theory
Aquaponics: Production of fish and vegetables in a semi-closed-loop system
MODO: Washing machine and toilet in the closed nutrient and water cycle
FarmBot: Open-source planting robot for automated vegetable cultivation
ZEBISTIS: Zero Emission Buildings

Eco-Tech Demo Object (MODO)

Our research group has developed a mobile eco-tech demo unit «MODO», which serves as a demonstration and research facility for eco-technologies and new sanitation systems on the Grüental Campus. MODO is a washroom facility which is self-sufficient in terms of both energy and water in that it produces its own energy and cleans polluted water in a container, making it available for reuse. The wastewater from the washing machine (grey water) is circulated.

As part of the topic «water-autonomous washing cycle» (LaundReCycle), you have the possibility to write a Master's thesis on the optimisation of various operating parameters:

  • System cleaning performance
  • Microbiology in conjunction with cleaning performance
  • In-system germ elimination (hygiene)
  • Creating water and load balance
  • Concept development for handling of faeces
  • Coal pyrolysis made from faeces / value chains

Living Lab Campus Grüental

A number of research facilities related to eco-technology are located on the Grüental Campus: 

  • Recirculating grey-water treatment
  • Dry-separating toilet
  • Pyrolysis reactor
  • Aquaponics
  • Aquaculture
  • Algae production plant
  • HTC-reactor (hydrothermal carbonisation)
  • Solar systems
  • Salt storage system

As part of the Living Lab project on the Grüental Campus, these research facilities are now to be conceptually regarded as an overall eco-technological system. The aim of Living Lab is to collect research data on user acceptance with users and visitors and to raise awareness of eco-technology concepts. In your Master’s thesis, you have the possibility to develop and model the overall concept, as well as to carry out and evaluate related activities.

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